Thursday, May 27, 2010

Week 14 - Granny

Dear Family,

It was my turn to write home last weekend, but the office has been a ZOO lately and I just didn’t get it done. The end of the month is very busy with Rent checks, power bills, and water bills, as each must be picked up, written out, and then hand delivered in person or taken directly to the landlords bank. We are loving the office out in the front part of the house and our newest addition has been a dining room set that we really like. It was a floor model that was dinged up a lot, hand one broken chair and the other 5 chairs were really wobbly. We were able to touch up the chairs and the table legs with a black marker and some shoe polish, and Lynn took all the chairs apart and reinforced them and was able to fix the broken chair so it looks really good.

We are really getting the hang of things here in Botswana and don’t even need our GPS system any longer. We’ve been to each of the chapels around us now, and also we’ve been to each of the missionary apartments so we pretty much know how to find everything we need to get our work done.

I haven’t had a hair cut since we left home, so my hair is getting pretty long; at least for me. I’m going to get Dad to attach a couple of pictures that show you what a Barber Shop and Hair Salon look like here. They are pretty creative about being “self employed” and we do respect them for that. It’s actually fun to stop at the road side shops to buy fruit, especially oranges and bananas right now. I try to keep a fruit bowl in the kitchen all the time for when the missionaries come and go; they seem to appreciate it as most of them don’t go home for lunch in the middle of the day so we offer them a little bit of a healthy substitute to hold them over until evening or even until 9:30 when they get home. Our missionaries work very hard here and if we ever call them in the day time, they are always in an appointment and call us back. It’s really a change from Ukraine where they seldom got a chance to even teach a lesson. Our baptisms continue to be amazing as we witness 7 last Sunday (a family of 4, including dad, mom, and two teenage children) and then 2 other teenagers and one young boy 9 years old. This Sunday we have more baptisms, but I’m not sure just how many right now. The work continues to amaze us and we are so happy to be involved in it.

Dad is busy getting signs made to give directions to some of our smaller branches and also some gold platelets to hook to some new tithing boxes he had made; also for our small branches. They just meet in homes and there is nowhere for them to put their tithing, if they should decide to pay any. We struggle with that and our new branches will never qualify for a chapel until they teach and become successful at getting their members to pay tithing. Dad is very busy and is in charge of so many things here. President Poulsen knows he can count on so he just calls and has him take care of anything that needs done in this part of the mission. Tomorrow we are traveling to Kanye (about 1 ½ Hours away) for Dad to give a 2nd Interview to a young lady wanting to be baptized and also to give a fireside to the adults of that Branch. We are excited about the chance to do all of that, but not about the trip home in the dark as that is the village that has so many donkey’s and goats and cattle and they are all along the roads and just stand out in the street. We’ve gone there many times and always count just donkey’s or just cattle. We don’t even try to count the goals, but we’ve counted over 200 donkey and over 300 cattle before just on a one way trip. Anyway, I told dad that we’ll have to just take our time and I’ll help him watch the road for anything with 2 or 4 legs as the people walk the streets also and they wear dark clothes so there isn’t anything white to show up at night except their teeth!!

We are definitely the minority here and we laugh at the fact that people stare at us when we walk into a room. I’m sure we are a novelty, but they are always friendly when we speak first. We always try to do that and we are actually starting to be familiar with a few people in the businesses that we work with and they always treat us very nicely. I’m sure just the local people on the street think we are very peculiar with our dress-up clothes all the time and our name tags, not to mention our white faces. They usually talk Svetlana (language of Botswana) here most of the time, especially when we are doing business with them and they talk to a fellow employee so we have no idea what they are saying or if they are on your side or not, but they can speak English to us when they have to and we try really hard to understand them. When they are speaking behind their thick glass windows, it’s really hard for us to hear or understand them, especially Dad so he just makes me come along with him at every window just so I can translate for him.

We are very healthy, happy, safe and busy so don’t worry about us. We can find most things we need here and if we can’t find it we find something that will work in it’s place. I’m getting better at cooking here with the different items on the shelf, but I am tackling the Zone Conference dinner on Monday. Sunday afternoon the Cardiff’s from Francistown (5 hours up North) will be coming to stay with us for 2 nights and President Poulsen and his wife and a daughter and her husband that are visiting them, will be coming in for dinner Sunday evening. We will have Zone Conference all day Monday and they are always a spiritual feast. We are looking forward to having a little time with the President and to be taught by him. Dad is helping me shop today and tomorrow so we have everything for the dinner; we are serving Super Spud, corn on the cob, rolls and root beer floats for dessert. The super spuds are easy if we can just find enough large potatoes, most of them here are pretty small. I saw some big ones the other day, but it was too soon to buy them. Maybe I’ll just try to get them from one of our little salesmen along the road. Butter is plentiful and really good here, but sour cream is a premium and only comes in 250 ML containers which is about 8 OZ. Milk products are very expensive; we pay about $2. For a 2 Liter bottle of milk; my family would love to do dairy here and get the kind of prices that are charged here. Corn on the cob seems to be in season here, it too is a little spendy (about $1.50 for 4 small ears) but our Missionaries are excited about something different for their dinner as they usually have one of the ladies out on the street fix their meal and they say that they ALL fix the same thing which is rice, curry chicken pieces, fruit salad and a cabbage type salad and some other flavored rice dishes. We’ll see how it goes and if I can actually pull it off with crock pots, and a very small oven at the church. I’m trying to find a Sister that lives close to our chapel that we meet at and see if I can use her oven for part of the potatoes; I found one but she works and is trying to find a relative that would be at her house on Monday so we could use her oven. If it flops and we have cold potatoes, or cold gravy mix because we blow the circuits at the church, or the stove won’t cook 50 ears of corn in the one big pot I found, I’ll know not to ever do this again and we’ll just settle for the root beer floats (without root beer ) as they don’t sell root beer. The elders told me there is something call “Iron Brew” and it taste a little like root beer; and I’m going to buy a couple of Liters of Orange Pop as that could work for the floats. Wish me luck! I’ll write more later,


Mom and Dad

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Week 13 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family and Friends,
First of all I want to thank everyone for making this past weekend at the Temple and with David and Cindy such a wonderful occasion. We have called and talked to eveyone. We are so blessed. I was a little hard for Saturday itself as we thought all day long as differnet thing were to take place in St. George at the same time were thinking of them but things were happening for us in the afternoon as they were happen that morning for all of you. Confusing but not really. Our thoughts and prayers were with everyone. Glad that Mom parents were able to be a part of it.

Let me make a few explainations of what has happened here. Elder and Sister Olson have trained us at the same time we have been working with the Young Singles Adult Ward and so we were keeping busy but really there wasn't enough for both couples to keep busy. Elder and Sister Olson have a daughter that was having either marital problems or having problems with getting through a devorce I'm not sure. They were suppose to go home the last half of July but with the world football (soccor) cup taking place in Johannesburg they couldn't get flights out so they change there go home dat to the middle of June. Well to make a long story short they called President Poulsen the middle of April and said the Morgans know everything they need to know to take our place and we have problems at home may we get released the end of April or first of May? President Poulsen said it was their decission and they decided to go home the first day of May which was a couple weeks ago. We have moved into the mission home and the pictures I took and are on our blog are from the place we are not moved into. We are completely up and running but we have made a few changes in the mission home that we are moved into. We have moved the office into the little area that was the dinning room with the little kitchen table. We are making one of the rooms across the hall into the new dinning room. We do not have the mission office in the master bedroom any longer. We do have desks that we can do our personal study each morning but none of the office things are back there any longer.

I will take some pictures as we love the arrangement much more and it is working great. Perhaps the Michealis's and the Olson's will have a fit because it isn't what they had or liked but we like change and love the new arrangement much more. When we have missionaries that need something we don't have to be back in the far corner of the bedroom to find the answer for them. The master bedroom is now private and we love it. Even the Elders and Sisters have said this should have been this way long ago. They can feel like the office is now part of the mission and not a hidden office back in the bedroom.

My health is still wonderful and I feel great. Mom is downing wonderful and is as beautiful as ever. We are both getting a few white hairs amoungst the dark hair but not to noticable. We have earned each of them over the years and we love each one of them. Keep in tough with us we love your e-mails and are sorry that we don't and can't answer each of them but we do read them and try to explain things in our blog. Thanks again Kricket for converting these letters into the blog.

With Love Out Of Africa,

We Love You!!! "OUT OF AFRICA"

Dear Family,
When I got up this morning to read my scriptures, I was reading the Seminary Study Guide for Moroni 2-5 which is what I had just read. It was all about family and reminded me of all of you and how much you mean to us. We have been thinking of you every minutes, you are such wonderful and amazing family members and you truly work hard to take care of each other and to be good examples to each other. Let me share with you part of what I found in my reading this morning.

...President Boyd K. Packer explained why ordinances are so important: "Ordinances and covnants become our credentials for admission into His presence. To worthily receive them is the quest of a lifetime; to keep them thereafter is the challenge of mortality." President Packer also explained: "Good conduct without the ordinance of the gospel will neither redeem nor exalt mankind; covenants and the ordinances are essential."
......Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained the relationship that exists between our Father in Heaven, our families, and the ordinances we participate in: "The ultimate Latter-day Saint priorities are twofold: First, we seek to understand our rlationship to God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and to secure that relationship by obtaining their saving ordinances and by keeping our personal covenants. Second, we seek to understand our relationship to our family members and to secure those relationships by the ordinances....and by keeping the covenants we make...These relationships, secured in the way I have explained, provide eternal blessings available in no other way. No combination of science, success, property, pride, prominence, or power can provide these eternal blessings!"

Thanks to you all for being at the temple this weekend; there isn't a happier place to be together. It's exciting for us to realize that you all understand the important of Ordinances and Covenants. Make sure everyone of your children absolutely understand how important they are also. Your example to them is amazing, but your teaching the truths of the gospel to them is absolutely essential. We know you teach them, but sometimes it takes lots of remindrs for them to truly understand the importance of them living the commandments and gaining a testimony of their own. Thanks for all you do for us!

Mom and Dad

Our address here in Botswana and the best place to send letters or small packages in Priority Envelopes (not begging for mail, but some have asked) is;

Elder and Sister Morgan
P/Bag 351 Post Net Kgale 272
Gaborone, Botswana

Our Magic Jack phone is up and working and it is:
2 0 8 - 5 72 - 0 2 9 9

We are 8 hours ahead of you while you are on Day Light Savings time, when you go off in the fall, we are 9 hours ahead of you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We Send Our Love, "OUT OF AFRICA" - Granny

May 15, 2010

Dear Family,

Dad and I have been thinking about all of you all day yesterday and all day long today. We know you are all together right now, as for us it is 8:15 PM which means you are all together in St. George attending Kylea and Casey’s wedding. Our hearts are full, just thinking about you all together. How grateful we are for your love for each other, your support for Cindy and David today and especially for your worthiness to all be in the temple today for such a special occasion. It is especially tender knowing that my parents are there with you and that Dad will be performing the wedding ceremony for Kylea and Casey. It’s hard for us to be so far away, but we have so many special tender mercies shown to us these past few days, that we just know it is Heavenly Father’s way of letting us know that we are where we are suppose to be at this time.

Last week was such a hard week that we didn’t even get around to writing a letter. We got 9 new missionaries in our end of the mission, 7 Elders and 2 Sisters. I guess I have to say we were suppose to get 2 Sisters, but one of them was from Madagascar and they wouldn’t let her through the border. So when we two Sister’s we sent to Johannesburg to bring them home got to the border they called Dad and he tried to talk to the Border officials and even offered to come out with whatever paperwork they needed to see if we could help. But they said, anyone from Madagascar has to already have applied for a Botswana Visa and have it with them before entering Botswana. Our Sisters come into Botswana with a South African Visa and then we have to apply for Botswana residency for them when they get here and that always works; except if you are from Madagascar. Somehow, someone from the Area Office or from the MTC should have caught this before it got up here to us, but………………………..Anyway so at 9 PM at night, after a 5 hour drive from Johannesburg, we had no choice but to send them back to JoBurg that night. We called President Poulsen and he agreed to wait up for them and have them stay at the Mission Home for a couple of days until it all could be sorted out, but as it turns out the two new Sisters had to go back into the MTC (right there in JoBurg) and our two Sisters drove back up to Botswana without their new companions. It’s now 10 days later and we still don’t have our new Sisters, the Area Office is working on her passport, but it takes a while and we aren’t pulling any great strings yet.

The Zone Leaders had to stay in JoBurg one extra night to do some training with the President so after they got all the new missionaries on their way here for transfers; they did their training and then drove back here the next night. Well, at 9 Pm we got a phone call from the Border again, and they had switched their “car registration” letters they have to have to cross the border with another set of missionaries that drove up the night before. The one set of missionaries didn’t get checked really close and they got through fine, but the Zone Leaders got stopped and the Border Patrol was insisting that we produce both sets of missionaries and both cars to the police for fines, and whatever???? Dad talked to them for over a half an hour and sent new letters (by e-mail) to the border patrol and after an hour and a half of talking, e-mailing and convincing them that it was just a mistake not an illegal “car ring’ they finally let our missionaries through.

The rest of the week was full of registering all the new Elder’s that came into country, re-doing all the Elders tht have been here for 90 days and have to have more legal work done to get to stay their extra 90 days and that was full of frustrations also, as they change the laws all the time and now instead of us doing the paperwork for our Missionaries and taking them their new permits and such, now we have to bring the missionaries in in person and some of them are 2,3 or 4 even 5 hours away from our office. We also have to pay Insurance on every car every three months, and we usually drive out to the Border (which is about 45 minutes away) with all the paperwork and pay the Insurance. But this time, they said we can’t do it that way anymore, we have to bring all the cars in, individually, before we can pay the insurance. I’m not sure what we are going to do about that one; some of these cars never get close to a border at all, especially every 3 months.

Oh well, it’s all in a day’s work and we are trying to learn to do it right, but the rules keep changing. Anyway, our new goal has been to try to get one big thing done each day and be really content with that. But yesterday we left home early in the morning with a list of 10 things that we needed to do and we were just going to see where the day took us and with the help of our Heavenly Father, by 6 O’clock, we had 9 of the 10 things done and the other one will wait easily until next week. Today was our preparation day and we cleaned the house, did our grocery shopping, washed the car, and then worked in the office all day trying to get caught up from all of our computer problems. Dad is up and running great, but mine still has some problems. I think we are going to have to call Salt Lake again and even get in touch with our “on-line banking” system here in Botswana because I can’t bring up my on-line banking at all and it is all done in coordination with the Area Office in JoBurg. It takes so many credentials and proof of “who you are” that I hate to think about it, but hopefully the Lord will bless us again this week and it will all be up and running again soon.

Yesterday, we had to go to our Bank for a “cashier Check” to pay for a Mission Purchase of P6050. (This is about $1200. ) They wouldn’t take a church check so we went to our bank for the Cashier’s Check. We had to stand in queue (line) for about 15 minutes and then we were handed 2 full pages that we had to fill out. (Actually it was one page, but there were 2 copies and they said I had to fill them both out). They had a copy machine right on the ladies desk, but I had to hand write them both. Then we got back in line to wait for the teller to take our papers and he said the check would be ready in 15 minutes, we could just go walk around or set and wait. We walked around the mall that our bank is in and went back in 15 minutes and thought we’d just pick up the check; but…………….we got back in queue (line) and waited our turn again and when we got to the front of the line, the teller went in the back to get the check and was literally gone for another 20 minutes and no one was there to wait on any of the other customers in his spot. He finally came out and said the check was almost ready, could we just step out of line and wait. We did wait for another 15 minutes, by now the bank was closed (3:30 here) and it was 3:50 when he finally went back in the back and came out with our Cashier’s Check. Needless to say, we won’t ever be going back for another cashier’s check. Our choices were the cashier’s check or write a check to ourselves and cash it at the bank and pay cash. We didn’t really want to do that as it would look like we were just paying ourselves and thought the Cashier’s Check was definitely a better option, but next time we’ll just pay ourselves, even it looks bad and make sure we have plenty of receipts and documents and etc.

We are getting settled in our home here. The Mission Home is very comfortable, we love having the office out in the dining room and the missionaries love it also. They have come over a lot lately, I think just to see all the new arrangements and of course, I always have cookies, banana bread, or Wacky Cake for them when they come. My latest is Banana Bread Muffins (yes, I actually found cupcake papers and I bought all I could get my hands on) and I even made 3 Wacky Cakes this week and poured them into the Muffin tins and they turned out great. It’s much easier to take the Banana Bread Muffins and the Cupcakes with us when we travel so we can give the Missionaries a treat for clean apartments and etc. They love having something “homemade” and it’s fun to spoil them. I even found “icing sugar” here and it makes pretty cook frosting. When our missionaries have to go to JoBurg for transfers or Zone Leaders training, they leave their areas about 4:30 in the morning, arriving here at anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30 AM depending on where they are serving. Some of them are even farther and we usually have them come in the night before and stay with the Zone leaders for the night. They have to come here and get their passports and Car registration papers and their Pula to pay for Border crossings; so we just get up early and have them stop by for a “smoothie and a muffin” and send them on their way with a prayer to insure that they have a “Safe Journey”. I really wish they didn’t have to do so much traveling here, but it is part of the work and they do it all with a smile. They always come back from JoBurg late and their cell phones don’t work until they get back in Botswana so we always worry about them, especially the Sisters on the road at night with no cell phones. Dad is going to try to get roaming on their phones, but it is costly, but after this last go round and them having to go back to JoBurg in the middle of the night, I think we will consider it at all cost.

Well, this letter has gotten too long, but it’s been too long since I wrote and my mind is going a little crazy tonight. We love you all, we miss you and we are so happy that you are together right now in the temple. We can picture all of you in the St. George temple and all the grandkids waiting outside for the happy couple to enter the grounds of the temple. What a sight that would be and we thank our Heavenly Father for letting us have a vision of what it must be like. “Let There Be No Empty Seats in Our Heavenly Home.”

We love it in Botswana, we especially love the people here and we feel blessed to be able to serve our Heavenly Father and to try to thank Him for his bounteous blessings to us. Missionary work IS the work of the Lord, and we are privileged to be on His errand. I love your father; he is the greatest protector I could ever ask for. We feel safe here; we have an 8 foot cement fence around our home with an 8 wire electric fence on top of that. There is a security system installed in the home with detectors in every room that would set off the alarm if anyone did get in. At night we go down the hall into the master bedroom and lock ourselves behind two heavy wooden doors and set the alarm system on. I get a little claustrophobic when Dad closes the doors at night, but we sleep well knowing we are safe.

Good Night!

Mom and Dad, Granny and PaPa Lynn, Elder and Sister Morgan

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Week 11 - Papa Lynn

Dear Family and Friends,

The time just flies past. It seems in many ways that it was only a couple of days ago that we entered the MTC in Provo but it has been over two months. I have some pictures that I want to have on our blog so I have compressed them and I hope they go well for Kricket to down load and put in the blog.












As you can see we are not living in misery here in Botswana. We are making some changes and I will send you some pictures of the changes when they are done. That will most likely be in a week or so. We send our love and prayers for each of you daily and even twice a day plus personal prayers from each Mom and I. Keep the faith and attend your church meetings, teach our grandchildren the gospel. We love all of you and miss you very much.

We heard that women’s conference was wonderful and Shaundalee and her sisters did great with four different numbers. Mom really would like to have been there with all of you. Cindy, I hear that Kylea was able to go to the temple and have much family there. Your sisters were wonderful and said they enjoyed being with you and Kylea in the temple. We wish you well in the next couple weeks getting things put together for the wedding itself.

With Love Out Of Africa,